Taking Simple Steps

Sharing the process of transitioning to a more sustainable lifestyle

Choosing Our Course


taking a break

taking a break

Jumbled thinking is a symptom, as well as a cause, of our hectic way of life. Not taking time to digest experiences, before moving on to others, is like using a calculator without first clearing the screen; our calculations are off.I recently decided to steady this wild beast of a lifestyle by setting aside unscheduled time each day and week to let things settle. Quakers call this process seasoning.

To do this, I first had to choose what is important to me and limit my activities to these priorities. This way the nonessentials do not become a distractions; more is not better if it is too much.

Next, I had to create a rhythm for my days and weeks, setting a time for each activity, like checking my e-mail and shopping for food. This way, I don’t feel compelled to do both at any given moment, leaving me scattered in many directions, nor do I have myriad things on my mind, keeping me perpetually aware of their need to be done.

The lull now created has the effect of setting a shaken solution down: the motion stops, the debris drops and the liquid becomes clear. In these spaces I can more clearly see what is going on, remember my purpose and decide what I need to do. This allows me to steer my course, rather than being carried downstream with the current.

I believe that the only way we can create saner ways of living, is by taking breaks from the current, taking the time to see what is happening and choosing to do what makes sense.


11 thoughts on “Choosing Our Course

  1. I totally agree. And I love the idea of one set time for email…Material-wise, less is more too, I think. I have no desire to go shopping and buy stuff — to add demand, which feeds supply of production (and, therefore, pollution). I’d much rather go to a yard sale or thrift shop…I want to get rid of excess stuff — not accumulate more. Unless I use it or it reflects my authentic self .

    • Dear Gabrielle,

      Nice to hear that you folks are in a simplifying mode, mindful of making a healthy contribution to the economy and environment. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and process!

      Be well,


  2. Thank you, Donna Marie! I’ve been so aware the past year or so how scattered I am, and not even knowing how to get past that. Your simple guidelines are so helpful! I will print this out – hopefully I will look at it and slow myself down!

    • So nice to hear from you again, Kate, and to hear of your process.

      I understand the fragmentation and am in a constant process of reflecting
      and adjusting my thoughts and behavior to bring greater focus and order to my life.
      The good news is, just like every other process, it gets easier and makes more
      sense over time.

      Wishing you well in your journey!


  3. Your ideas reflect our New Years resolution this year, less is more. Clear out the junk, and only keep the essentials, and the loved. I’m thinking you’ve got yourself a nice little book going here. Congratulations, Donna.

    • So nice to hear from you, Lynn, and know that you folks are setting out to simplify your material space.
      I find the process is one of clearing inner space too and am hoping that you too find great order and peace in this


  4. You’ve added more detail and focus to living the simple and sustainable life. Bravo. The text reads well and your podcast is excellent. Thank you. Your opening words about jumbled thinking brings to mind the saying of the Budha that the mind is has the chatter of a thousand monkeys. (I think I have 1001–the mystery one in Tampa has added his voice.)

  5. Hi DonnaMarie,

    I know we have not been able to connect in person of late, but it is heartening to know that our paths are the same, and interconnected. That is why you don’t see me out at events in Sarasota very often anymore, as I have been working this process now (simplifying and changing outmoded ways of being) for 4 years now. This means I am living as a locovore, keeping most of my life contained (in the physical sense only) to Bradenton and AMI. I am loving the fact that you are actually blogging your experience, as I have not. I just haven’t gotten serious about the documentation part — your blog is causing me to evaluate this idea, and discern what is really in my heart about that part. However, I do admire how much you are able to express with such an economy of words! A great skill for a writer!

    Your process has been nearly identical to mine, and the blog is bolstering my sense of community in this sense. Thank you for sharing. I don’t always take the time to respond, but I am reading all of them.



    • Always nice to hear from you and of your goings on, Alec.
      So good to know you are doing what you are doing, way up there in Bradenton,
      and glad to know you are tuning in.

      I think at times our actions are our words, and at others, we are called to speak.
      I hope you find the way to doing what is yours to do.

      Until next time,
      Happy Trails,

  6. Hello Donna, I like your phrase: “more is not better if it is too much”. It’s simple, but packs a punch. JMM

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